Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review :: Foundations in Comic Book Art: SCAD Creative Essentials (Fundamental Tools and Techniques for Sequential Artists) by John Paul Lowe

Foundations in Comic Book Art is a good resource for anyone who wants to learn more about comic book art. I am going to get it out right now - I have no comic book art background, but was just interested in the concept to help me in some of my designs (and especially was hopeful that this would be good for my almost 9 year old son who loves to draw and I think would be great with the comic book style).

I have mixed opinions about Foundations in Comic Book Art. For one, I learned a lot about the ideas of seeing objects contained within shapes and the perspective of comic book art. But on the other hand, many of the lessons seemed somewhat incomplete (either lacking a real introduction or leaving off before it is all brought to a conclusion). For a book that claims to be foundational, I had hoped for more in this sense - more complete step-by-step. In my opinion, the chapters "Learning to See" and "Perspective Basics" were the most helpful for a beginner. 

I must also say that as far as comic drawing books I have come across, Foundations in Comic Book Art is among the more "mild" in terms of violent images or very graphic drawings of bodies (women in particular)...but I still wish it hadn't included things like a drawing of a woman's backside in a thong (and I don't mean flip flops). I do understand that in general these things are part of comic book art, but I wish that there would be something more family and child-friendly (comic book style) without lacking the important art concepts. This one, unfortunately, I will not be able to share with my family before I glue some pages together. 

For those who are familiar with Photoshop, there are a couple ideas included in Foundations in Comic Book Art on how to use Photoshop in their comic book art. There are also a couple references to Manga Studio. In general, though, Foundations in Comic Book Art mainly deals just with hand drawing and inking. If you are looking for something to help with software-based art, I would suggest looking elsewhere. 

In all, I think Foundations in Comic Book Art could have used more explanations of "why" and "how to" in order to be more useful to a beginner, but it does have some good techniques and ideas. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the Blogging for Books book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review :: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing Deluxe Edition by Sally Lloyd-Jones, Illustrated by Jago, Audio by David Suchet, Foreword by Tim Keller

The new Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing Deluxe Edition is fantastic! The Deluxe Edition includes the book (Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing), two audio CDs, and it all comes in a sturdy storage/display case with a Velcro closure.

Sally Lloyd-Jones is known for bringing us The Jesus Storybook Bible (which is wonderful), and she is back again with Thoughts to Make Your Heart SingThoughts to Make Your Heart Sing is a fantastic devotional for both adults and children. The thoughts come from a variety of directions - historical references, other writers, and of course the Bible. (There is a bibliography & source section at the back of the book - pages 220-224.) Some of the entries may be a bit flowery or abstract for children, but the thoughts are beautiful. (One example is "Sing Your Song!" which isn't referring to the literal act of singing.)

I do feel that Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing will make the most sense to those who have already read The Jesus Storybook Bible. It references words/phrases that are used throughout The Jesus Storybook Bible ("Terrible Lie", "Rescuer", etc.).
As in The Jesus Storybook Bible, the illustrations for Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing are done by Jago. Jago is an incredibly talented artist and the illustrations he has done for Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing are no exception. The illustrations here are a little more "full" (not so simple) and with a slightly different tone than the art he did for The Jesus Storybook Bible, but each and every one is beautiful. The illustrations have a vintage feel to them and are done in beautiful muted colors. 

The Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing book included in this Deluxe Edition seems to be a bit taller and wider than the original. (The book in the Deluxe Edition measures approximately 7 3/4" x 6 1/2" x 3/4", where the dimensions of the original are closer to 7 1/2" x 6" x 1".)

The audio by David Suchet for this Deluxe Edition is amazing. (He also did the audio for The Jesus Storybook Bible Collector's Edition.) In my opinion, he could read the dictionary and I might be temped to buy the audio disc. He brings life to each piece he reads, and is able to keep the attention of my whole family (kids included). The one downside...once David Suchet has read to your kids, they may tell you that you are reading something wrong when you read to them (just because it doesn't live up to his reading skill). I think I can live with that.

Disc 1 contains "Dance!" through "Under His Wings"
Disc 2 contains "Talk to Yourself!" through "By the Hand!"

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing Deluxe Edition is available today (October 21, 2014).
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

All Warriors Have Scars {Unity Stamp Company}

I don't have a project to share today - but I am pretty excited about what I do have to sweatshirts, t-shirts, and a rubber stamp - all featuring my new awareness ribbon design:

Although this is obviously suited for cancer (breast cancer in particular), there are so many different warriors out there - cancer, autoimmune diseases, and more. This image can be used for any of the many warriors you know.

You can find the stamp, shirt, and sweatshirt for sale at Unity Stamp Company.

And...since hope never goes out of style - be sure to check out my All About Hope kit, too!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review :: Love Letters from God: Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist, Illustrated by Sophie Allsopp

Love Letters from God: Bible Stories is a great book that takes you through 18 popular Bible stories (9 from the Old Testment and 9 from the New Testament), with a "Love Letter from God" to go along with each story. Each love letter is adhered to the page, and the contents of the letter can be accessed by lifting the flap. The pages and love letters are a good weight - not exactly as thick as heavyweight cardstock, but not so thin that you should have to worry much about your 4-8 year olds ripping the pages (unless they are generally rough on books). Each love letter beings with "Dear _______," so a child's name can be written in if you choose. At the end of the book is also an invitation to "join Jesus' team" and a blank love letter to God that can be filled in by the child. 

Each Bible story is retold as a story (not the Biblical text). The retellings are cute, but if you are looking for something that is strictly biblically accurate, this book is probably not what you are looking for. (For example, the fruit in the story of "The Sneaky Snake" is referred to over and over again as a "special, shiny apple".) I think it is the same with most Bible story books - with each story the author will take certain creative liberties with the retelling. 

Along with each story is a verse ("God's Wonderful Words to You") that goes along with the theme of the story. (The verse is not taken from the story itself.) Each "Love Letter from God" goes along with the theme as well. The themes are a wonderful start to discussions with your child(ren) about how God is with us, God loves us, we are special to God, and God will never leave us. 
The illustrations by Sophie Allsopp are great. Each full-color, two-page spread gives the child plenty to look at without being overwhelming. The illustrations are mainly hand-drawn, but there are a few scanned/photographed pieces mixed in. I wish the illustrations had all been hand-drawn - the artist is very talented.

I think Love Letters from God: Bible Stories is a great book to share with little ones. This is one of those instances where I think it is important that you go with your gut. If you don't like the idea of an author writing words "from God", this is not a book I would suggest for you. If you don't like the idea of Bible stories told in words other than what is directly written in the Bible, this book is not for you. But, if you like to use a variety of books to tell your children about God and His love, and appreciate the perspective and creativity of a variety of authors and artists - get Love Letters from God: Bible Stories to share with your loved ones.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Review :: Best Party Book Ever! by Editors of Faithgirlz! and Girls' Life Mag

Best Party Book Ever! by Editors of Faithgirlz! and Girls' Life Mag is a fantastic resource for any hostess-with-the-mostess-in-training. 
Although the claim as the "best ever" party book may be a little stretch, it really is a great resource! The photographs in this book are more magazine style than a how-to book style. The photographs are really fantastic, but not exactly helpful if you are looking for a how-to. I would have loved to have seen some diagrams or step-by-step pictures. (For example, in addition to the explanation of how to create an invitation for a specific theme, I would love to see a drawing or picture of an example invitation.) 

With that said, there were a lot of things that made this book fun to look at and to read. I loved how it didn't just dive into themes and color schemes...but went over the idea of how to be a great hostess. (For example, it went beyond saying "be sure sure to introduce your guests to one another", but actually gave the suggestion to think of things your guests have in common to get them comfortable and talking to each other.)

The variety of party ideas in Best Party Book Ever! is great. This isn't just about birthdays - there are also ideas for anytime parties and holiday parties...and even a pet party.

Another fantastic part of this book is the recipe section. There are a variety of recipes for snacks, drinks, sweets, and even treats for "furry friends". Again, the photographs in this section are fantastic. 

All in all, I think this is a great resource for party planning and I think it outshines other party books in the perspective of how to be a great hostess. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.